65% of Online Shopping-Cart Deserters Return to Buy

September 22, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Privacy & Security | Retail & E-Commerce | Youth & Gen X

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of online shoppers who “abandon” their shopping carts actually come back after a day or more and fully convert on a purchase, according to a study by computer security firm McAfee, writes MarketingVOX.? The largest number of these return to buy after one to two days.


The study, “Digital Window Shopping: The Long Journey to Buy,” reviewed more than 150 million online transactions and found that online purchase delays are quite common and much longer than previously thought. However, such a high rate of return-to-purchase is likely indicative of cautious shoppers who – for security, brand trust or price-comparison reasons – need more time to think about their transaction, the study found.

“The good news is that those shoppers who you thought were disappearing may not be gone, they may just be delaying,” said Research Analyst Shane Keats of McAfee, who noted that many marketers typically use price discounts and remarketing emails when they think a customer has abandoned a cart.

McAfee said the research identifies the the following reasons why some consumers delay purchases after placing items in online shopping carts:

  • Brand recognition: Merchants with higher brand recognition enjoy shorter purchase delays than lesser-known brands, in part because of the comfort level of the consumer.
  • Demographics/experience: More experienced online shoppers – who are usually but not always younger – are more comfortable with the e-commerce experience – from checkout procedure knowledge to security savviness, and will click “buy” more quickly than a shopper new to e-tailing.
  • Competitors: Merchants who sell in a highly competitive marketplace will wait longer to see a sale as consumers shop for similar product by price and convenience. Merchants offering unique or hard-to-find items will experience quicker purchase decisions.
  • Novelty: New services or products, especially if they are perceived as too expensive for an impulse purchase, will take
    longer to close a deal on.
  • Price: Higher priced items or high purchase value orders will tend to take longer to complete as shoppers reconsider whether they can really afford them, especially during the recession.

Security Plays a Role

Security features also play an important role in sealing the deal, McAfee found.? For the study, the firm focused on two groups of consumers, one that saw a McAfee “trustmark” while shopping and one that did not. The group of shoppers that saw the trustmark converted to buyers 11% more often.

Moreover, shoppers who waited the longest – four or more days before buying – were even more responsive to the trustmark, McAfee added, suggesting that the more worried consumers are about security, the more likely they are to delay their purchase and the longer their delay.

In April, a PayPal/comScore study found that 21% of buyers said they decided not to shop at a given site because of security concerns.

About the research: McAfee conducted an analysis of 800 online retailers to better understand the “digital window shopping” phenomenon.? Using unique and proprietary data, McAfee analyzed the shopping behavior of more than 163 million visitors who made more than 2.6 million purchases over the last two years.

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